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Oil Disaster Threatens Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
By Christie Renner

In an effort to protect the public from consuming contaminated seafood, one third of U.S. fed­eral waters in the Gulf of Mexico have been closed to fishing as a result of the (so-called) BP oil “spill.” One species found in the Gulf—the Atlantic bluefin tuna—presents dangers not only to consumers, but is itself threat­ened with extinction.

The bluefin’s main spawning habitat in the Gulf has been heav­ily contaminated by oil from the spill and toxic dispersant chemi­cals from mitigation efforts. The bluefin has long been a prize catch for the fishing industry and a popular choice among sushi lovers. Overfishing seemed to be the tuna’s biggest threat, but now damage to spawning grounds intensifies the specie’s struggle for survival.

The Seafood WATCH® program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium recommends avoiding the pur­chase of bluefin tuna, regardless of its country of origin. Savvy consumers and government reg­ulators may be able to give these beautiful creatures a chance to rebuild their populations, but it’s not going to be easy. First Affirmative continues to work with colleagues to encourage companies that sell seafood to adopt sustainable procurement policies.

Posted: July 23, 2010